(Individual session #18)
I’m sorry that I’m only just writing.
I’m finding things unbearably difficult and this weekend is an exercise in tentatively trying to keep myself alive.
I fell apart fairly thoroughly following my session on Thursday (I was pretty much there already during my social worker meeting on Wednesday too) but in the following wave of concerned phonecalls and extra appointments attempting to persuade me to stay alive and how to give myself the best chance of doing so I have at least managed to stay out of hospital. So far.
I gave a vehement no every time hospital was suggested because I find it so frightening and claustrophobic. But now I am at home for the weekend, with no support I can access until Monday, shredding my arms and taking lorazapam to get through the day and sleeping as much as possible, I am wondering if it was the right choice.
Keeping myself alive might be a job I need some help with. I’m in a weird mix of agitation with low mood. I’m aiming to get to Monday any way I can and it’s so torturous right now I’ll probably be begging them to admit me.
My partner is suffocating me with his concern. One of the reasons I wanted to stay out of hospital was to save him stress and upset, but maybe this is worse for both of us. He can’t help me if I’m here either but he can see how distressed I am. I feel guilty but I’m doing the best I can it’s just not good at the moment.
I am mostly going back to bed or sitting on the sofa staring into space if I am awake. Counting down the hours because being alive is painful. Trying to sleep my way through life.
I was so hopeful when I started this therapy. I thought this blog would chart my recovery but maybe it won’t.
Today I told the group about how I don’t know what I’m doing there. I panic because I know we’re nearly a third of the way through and I don’t know how to use the group.
I’m not going to get better because I don’t talk because I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what the right things to talk about are to make the therapy work, to get better.
I explained how I get so anxious I find I can’t talk and think at the same time. I forget what I’m trying to say or I feel like I’m not making sense so I just give up and shut up.
Then someone commented about how negative the group has been today. But maybe this was a positive to me. Being honest and breaking out of my silence. The rut I feel stuck in. I don’t speak much so no one expects me to speak.
Being on holiday was weird. I like seeing new places but I can also find them stressful. I didn’t like having less control over when and what I ate. I’ve been weird about food lately. I used to have an eating disorder so that’s something for me to keep an eye on.
I hated being stuck with my dad. I don’t know if I’d go away with my parents again. We argued and every time me and my partner disagreed on anything, he took my partner’s side, even when it was none of his business. I told him to mind his own business, actually. It didn’t make a difference.
I ended up feeling like my parents think I am mean to my partner and he could do better. I ended up feeling like they’d rather have him as a son than have me.
I have a cold and I was ill all week and slept badly. I was also sharing a bed with my partner which I’m not generally used to and I slept badly because of that.
That said I saw some lovely things and for some moments felt more alive than I have in a long time. It also made me appreciate my home and living here just the two of us and not having to deal with my dad nearly so often any more.
These are all important things to hold on to. My main feeling now I’m back is what next? I was working towards the holiday and now I’m not sure what I’m working towards. I feel like the way I spend a lot of the time is pointless. Am I wasting my life just trying to distract myself from painful feelings all the time? Is that any kind of life at all really?
I’m very nervous about group MBT in the morning. It is so weird knowing they all met up last week when I wasn’t there and I don’t know what happened.
I’m sitting in a coffee shop after my individual therapy. Everything is very raw and unresolved.
We talked about my upcoming care plan approach meeting, when the people involved in my treatment will come together to discuss how things are going and where best to go from here.
Obviously, part of that answer will be to complete the MBT programme. I’m nervous about the meeting for several reasons:
My gender stuff will become ‘out in the open’
I am very anxious about being in the room with them all
I feel very uncomfortable when people are talking about me, especially when they say encouraging things?
I don’t know what will be said
I’m worried about how I’ll react
My individual therapist was trying to find out why I feel so uncomfortable when people talk about me, especially when they say nice things. We didn’t really get to the bottom of it.
Part of it is that I don’t feel I deserve the attention, I feel embarrassed and exposed. I guess attention being on me has historically been a very negative experience.
Part of it is that I am scared that I will be anxious and grin and laugh and that it will give people the wrong idea about my mood/I’ll look odd/I’ll seem desperate for approval (which I am).
The other thing we talked about a bit is a funeral I went to a couple of weeks ago. My family were there and it brought up some stuff about my sister that I wanted to talk about.
I couldn’t bring myself to say what I wanted to say to my therapist. The end of the session came around and I think she thought I was crying because of my bereavement but it wasn’t that.
It’s something we’ll revisit I guess. It’s so hard to say things that you have kept hidden forever and never spoken to anyone about.
I’m on holiday next week so there might not be a post. I’m going away with my parents and one of my partners. I’m going to try not to fight with my dad. I’m apprehensive about it!
(Group week 15, individual therapist still away.)
Group this week was largely on the topic of defensiveness. The way a lot of us react in group is described as defensive and the therapists want us to question this response. To be open to the idea that someone is not trying to hurt us, or that the hurt caused would be bearable.
I’m definitely defensive, in group and in my every day life. I think this is a way of surviving; a lot of my BPD is the response of a traumatised person attempting to protect themselves from further pain.
I think this is encouraged in part by how strongly those of us with BPD feel emotions, we know that pain and we know how devastating and overwhelming it can get for us. It makes sense for us to become hypervigilant about avoiding it.
How much does your defensiveness, in its various forms, protect you? How much does it hold you back or even cause you more pain? Is it possible to hold on to what works and work to eliminate what doesn’t?
I’d like to become more nuanced and careful about how and when I use defensive strategies:
-Find out for sure if I need to defend myself before I go into attack mode on someone who is not really a threat.
-Don’t push everyone away when I am feeling awful, it seems like I’m protecting myself but really I’m isolating myself and making my life more difficult.
-Continue building my assertiveness and confidence in conversation so that I have better skills to simply say if something is making me feel uncomfortable or uncertain before it leads to a meltdown.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments. Do you have the same difficulties? Perhaps you’ve found what works for you?